Current Affairs Daily Updates: 4th and 5th April 2017

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Current Affairs Daily Updates: 4th and 5th April 2017
APPOINTMENTS
Shri B.P. Kanungo appointed as RBI Deputy Governor
  • Shri B.P. Kanungo (Bibhu Prasad Kanungo) of Odisha took over as the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India.
  • The Government of India, on March 11, 2017 has appointed him as the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, for a period of three years from the date of his taking over charge of the post on or after April 3, 2017.
Rajiv Kumar Chander appointed as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of India to UN
  • Rajiv Kumar Chander was appointed India’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations Offices in Geneva, the Ministry of External Affairs announced.
  • Chander belongs to the Indian Foreign Services (IFS) batch of 1983. He is the Consul General of India in Vancouver at present, a post he has held since August 2015. He has degrees in History and Law.
  • He was the deputy permanent representative with the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, Geneva, between 2006 and 2009. Chander served as India's Ambassador to Ukraine from July 2011 to July 2015.
  • He will succeed Ajit Kumar at the Geneva office.
Dhoni as the CEO of an oil company for a day
  • Mahendra Singh Dhoni was named the chief executive officer of Gulf Oil India for a day.
  • The former India captain reached the company's headquarters in Andheri, Mumbai to assume his new role.
  • Dhoni, who will for Rising Pune Supergiant in the IPL this year, has been a brand ambassador for the firm since 2011.
India’s first ever transsexual police Sub-Inspector - Prithika Yashini
  • K Prithika Yashini, 26, scripted history when she took charge as sub-inspector in Dharmapuri district in Tamil Nadu. For, Yashini is the first transsexual to enter into uniform service in India.
  • Born as a male, she had to leave her family, from Salem in Tamil Nadu, in 2011, as she was not able to cope up with the internal issues with respect to her sexual identity.
  • She had gone through a gender change in 2011, and she has always been persistent in fighting for her rights and against the discrimination she faces.
Geetha Johri - Gujarat's first woman police chief, DGP
  • Geetha Johri, Gujarat's first female IPS officer has now become the state's first female DGP (Director General of Police) after the outgoing DGP-in-charge PP Pandey, an accused in the Ishrat Jahan case, decided to step down.
  • Johri is presently posted as managing director, Gujarat Police Housing Corporation in Gandhinagar.
AWARDS AND HONOURS
Eritrean-born journalist Dawit Isaak awarded UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2017
  • Dawit Isaak, an imprisoned Eritrean-Swedish journalist, has been chosen to receive the 2017 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
  • Mr. Isaak was arrested in a crackdown on the media that occurred in September 2001. The last time he was heard from was in 2005. His present location is unknown.
  • Dawit Isaak, a playwright, journalist and writer, moved to Sweden in 1987, where he later became a citizen and went into self-imposed exile. After the independence of Eritrea, he returned to his homeland to become one of the founders and reporters of Setit, the first independent newspaper in the country. He was known for his critical and insightful reporting.
  • The Prize will be awarded during the celebration of World Press Freedom Day, 3 May, hosted in Jakarta, Indonesia this year in the presence of the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, and the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo.
BANKING AFFAIRS
Five State Banks, Bharatiya Mahila Bank merge with SBI
  • Five associates and the Bharatiya Mahila Bank became part of the State Bank of India, catapulting the country's largest lender to among the top 50 banks in the world.
  • State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore, besides Bharatiya Mahila Bank merged with SBI.
  • The total customer base of the bank will reach 37 crores with a branch network of around 24,000 and nearly 59,000 ATMs across the country. The merged entity will have a deposit base of more than 26 lakh crore rupees and advances level of 18.50 lakh crore rupees.
  • Welcoming all the stakeholders of merged entities, SBI Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya said the bank will strive to conclude the transition process within a quarter.
SBI cuts lending rates by 0.15%
  • Ahead of the Reserve Bank of India's monetary policy this week, the country's largest bank, State Bank of India has reduced its benchmark lending rate by 0.15%.
  • Base rate or the minimum lending rate of the bank has been reduced from 9.25% to 9.1%. The cut in SBI's base rate was effective from 1st April,2017.
  • With this reduction, the equated monthly instalments, or EMIs for the bank's new as well as existing borrowers who have taken housing or car loans at the base rate will come down by at least 0.15%.
BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
Indian economy expected to grow at 7.2% in 2017-18: FM Arun Jaitley
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said Indian economy is expected to grow at 7(point)2 percent in 2017-18 and 7(point)7 percent in 2018-19 according to IMF estimates.
  • Mr Jaitley said this while delivering the key note address at the opening ceremony of the second New Development Bank Annual Board of Governors' meeting in New Delhi.
  • Mr Jaitley also said, despite the stagnant demand in developed economies, emerging economies like BRICS continue to grow. He also said, India requires 646 billion dollars over next few years to finance infrastructure development.
Ola integrates with UPI to simplify payment options
  • Cab aggregator Ola has integrated with Unified Payment Interface (UPI) to simplify digital payment options for its customers.
  • This integration will allow Ola customers to use their unique UPI IDs to pay for all their rides on the Ola platform.
  • While making payments for the Ola rides, a customer will now have an option called ‘Pay by UPI’ along with cash, debit/credit card and Ola Money wallet option.
Amazon.in launches ‘Classroom’ for new sellers
  • To make on-boarding easy for new sellers, Amazon India has launched an initiative called Amazon Classroom, a virtual training program to help teach them the nuances of online selling.
  • The program focuses on areas such as order processing, adding products and managing returns that are required to operate a successful online business.
ICICI, Axis Bank sell Rs 1800 crore Ballarpur loans to Edelweiss
  • ICICI Bank and Axis Bank sold Rs.1,800 crore of loans to paper maker Ballarpur Industries Ltd to Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Company.
  • Bankers stated that this is possibly the first instance of a potential bad loan being sold off. It’s also the first time that loans have been sold to an asset reconstruction firm. Axis Bank sold loans of Rs.1,200 crore and ICICI Bank sold loans of Rs.600 crore.
DEATHS
Hindustani classical vocalist Kishori Amonkar passes away at 84
  • Padma Vibhushan recipient classical singer Kishori Amonkar passed away at the age of 84 at her house in Mumbai.
  • In her career spanning seven decades, she was revered as ‘Gaan-Saraswati’.
  • The singer has been awarded the Padma Bhushan (1987) and the Padma Vibhushan (2002) for an exemplary career. She was also a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1985 and the SNA Fellowship for 2009. In 1991, she was awarded the prestigious Dr TMA Pai Outstanding Konkani Award.
IMPORTANT DAYS OBSERVED
April 4: International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action
  • International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action was observed on 4 April 2017 across the world. The theme of the year 2017 is Needs driven. People Centred.
  • Mine action ensures that landmines and explosive hazards in war-torn areas are found and destroyed, making possible the delivery of humanitarian assistance so that people and supplies reach those most in need.
  • The United Nations Mine Action Strategy (UNMAS) coordinates teams to clear roads and runways of explosives, to block off weapons contaminated areas, and to train local people to demine and dispose of explosives.
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
UK passport could turn dark blue after Brexit under £490m contract
  • The UK passport could turn dark blue again after Brexit under a £490m contract to redesign and produce a new version of the document.
  • The passport is routinely redesigned every five years and Eurosceptics view the new contract as a way to ditch the EU burgundy cover in favour of a return to the colour of the past.
  • The current contract expires in 2019, the year the UK is set to leave the European Union after Theresa May began the formal two-year withdrawal process.
  • Colour of Passports around the world:- Passports around the world are either red, green or blue and black in colour.
    • Blue: Countries whose passports are blue in colour are believed to belong to the so-called 'new-world' league of nations. These nations include India, North America, South America, Australia among others.
    • Red: Considered to be the colour of the communist movement worldwide, red generally belongs to countries that have had a communist history or are still under its influence. China, Serbia, Latvia among others are examples.
    • Green: Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan etc tend to opt for different hues of green--a colour Islam associates with Prophet Muhammad. Shades of green are also used by West African countries like Nigeria, Niger, Senegal, where the colour "indicates that they belong to ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States)"
    • Black: Black is the rarest passport colour used. One of the prominent nations that have black passports is New Zealand that chooses to be in sync with its national colour. Other nations that also have black passport are African countries like Zambia, Angola etc.
Serbia elects Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic as president
  • Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has won a clear victory in the country's presidential election.
  • He won about 55%, well above the threshold to avoid a run-off, with most results counted.
  • His closest challenger, Sasa Jankovic, polled 16%, while satirical candidate Ljubisa Preletacevic came third with 9% of the vote.
  • He became prime minister after his pro-EU nationalist Progressive Party won a landslide victory in early parliamentary elections in 2014.
India, Malaysia tie up for skilling, entrepreneurship development
  • The Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII) has tied up with Pembangunan Sumber Manusia Berhad (PSMB), an arm of Human Resource Development Fund under Ministry of HRD, Malaysia, for skill development, and assist the South-East Asian country in its target of ensuring 35 per cent skilled Malaysian workforce by 2020.
  • PSMB and EDII will work together in the areas of skill development, re-skilling, entrepreneurship development, capacity building, training and methodology, content development, consulting and research.
  • The first activity after signing the MoU would be to train close to 100 youth in entrepreneurship through classroom training, simulation exercises and field exposure.
WADA doping charts - India ranks 3rd for third year
  • Sporting minnows India has been ranked third for the third year in a row in a doping violation report published by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for 2015 with 117 athletes from the country being punished after testing positive for banned substances.
  • India followed Russian Federation (176) and Italy (129) at third spot in the doping violation chart released by the WADA, the same position as in the reports of 2013 and 2014.
  • This is the first set of Anti-Doping Rule Violation statistics under the revised WADA Code and third such report in its history since 2013.
  • The worrying sign for India is that the number of dope offenders has been increasing in the last three years. India had 91 and 96 Anti-doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Lenin Moreno elected President of Ecuador
  • Ecuador elected Lenin Moreno as the country's new president, according to the CNE (National Electoral Council) electoral agency.
  • Renowned disability activist and former vice president Lenin Moreno of President Rafael Correa's governing Alianza Pais party got 99.65 percent of the votes counted.
  • Moreno and his vice president Jorge Glass won with 5,057,149 votes or 51.16 percent over former banker Guillermo Lasso and his vice president Andres Paez, of the right-wing CREO-SUMA alliance, who secured 4,827,753 votes and 48.84 percent.
Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai - youngest person to address Canadian Parliament
  • Malala Yousafzai (19-year-old activist), the youngest Nobel Prize laureate, will on April 12 address Canada’s parliament and officially receive the honorary Canadian citizenship bestowed upon her in 2014.
  • Malala was targeted by Taliban militants after she became an outspoken advocate for the right of girls to learn and to attend school. She has since become an international spokesperson for girls’ education and the rights of women and girls. In recognition of this work, she was named a co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize along with Indian activist Kailash Satyarthi.
  • The House of Commons in October 2014 unanimously supported bestowing honorary Canadian citizenship upon Yousafzai to recognise her bravery in the fight for the rights of women and girls.
  • Yousafzai is one of just six people to receive honorary Canadian citizenship. The others are Raoul Wallenberg, Nelson Mandela, the 14th Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi, and the Aga Khan.
World's 5th tallest building 'Lotte World Tower' opens in Seoul
  • South Korea celebrates the opening of Lotte World Tower – the world’s fifth-highest skyscraper – a 1,819 ft seven-star hotel in Seoul.
  • Lotte World Tower is a 123 floors building built on the banks of River Han in Seoul.
  • The landmark building boasts some record-setting amenities such as the world's highest swimming pool, world’s highest glass-bottomed observation deck, the world's fastest elevator taking visitors to the top in just one minute.
  • Lotte World Tower is the world's fifth-tallest building after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the Shanghai Tower, Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel in Saudi Arabia and One World Trade Center in New York.
  • The building, developed by Lotte Engineering and Construction, cost about $3.6 billion to build and was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox. Leslie E. Robertson Associates was the structural engineer for the project.
33 MoUs likely to be signed during PM's India visit: Bangladesh FM
  • Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali has said, 33 MoUs are likely to be signed during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's forthcoming visit to New Delhi and the absence of Teesta river water sharing agreement does not matter.
  • Ms Hasina will be on a 4-day visit to India from Friday. Mr Mahmood told reporters that Ms Hasina's visit is aimed at expanding bilateral trade, boosting investment, connectivity and sub-regional assistance.
  • Construction of Padma and Ganges barrages, distribution of common river water, border management and fighting cross-border drugs and human trafficking are also among the issues likely to be discussed.
  • During her visit, the Bangladesh Prime Minister will also honour the Indian soldiers who lost their lives during the 1971 Liberation War.
NATIONAL AFFAIRS
MP govt launches app 'MP e-Nagarpalika' to provide municipal services online
  • The mobile app MP e-nagarpalika was launched by state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to provide various municipal services online.
  • About the app MP e-nagarpalika:- Urban Development Commissioner Vivek Agrawal said 378 services of urban bodies would be available round the clock on this app.
  • This app would offer 378 services like online payment of property tax, seeking building permission, birth/ marriage/ death certificates etc. It will also register complaints related to garbage, water, streetlights etc.
  • Online payment gateway would be available on this app.
  • This mobile app would encourage the cashless transaction. This mobile app is a part of Rs 225-crore ‘e-nagarpalika’ project, under which all municipal services would be made available online on a unified web platform.
GST: Tax evasion over Rs 5 crore a non-bailable offence
  • Tax evasion exceeding an amount of Rs 5 crore under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime will be a non-bailable offence with the police having the authority to arrest persons without a warrant.
  • The earlier threshold for treating tax evasion as a cognizable and non-bailable offence was proposed to be at Rs 2.5 crore.
  • The Central GST (CGST) Act provides that if the offences relating to taxable goods and/or services where the amount of tax evaded or the amount of input tax credit wrongly availed or the amount of refund wrongly taken exceeds Rs 5 crore, then they will be cognizable and non-bailable.
  • The government has set a target date of July 1 for roll out of the GST, which will subsume central excise, service tax, VAT and other local levies.
  • The GST is administered & governed by GST Council and its Chairman is Union Finance Minister of India Arun Jaitley.
Kolkata gets India's first bio-gas bus - with flat Re 1 fare
  • Phoenix India Research claimed to have launched the first bio-gas fuelled bus in Kolkata keeping a flat fare of just Rs. 1. All buses will have a flat fare of Rs. 1 irrespective of the distance, even in excess of 40 km. Presently, the lowest fare in a Kolkata bus is Rs. 6.
  • The company has tied-up with Ashok Leyland to manufacture the 54-seater bus at a cost of Rs 13 lakh approximately.
  • The first bus will run a distance of 17 km between Ultadanga and Garia in the southern fringes of the city and Phoenix India will run the bio-gas service from its Corporate Social Responsibility fund.
  • The bio-gas bus can run up to 6 km on one kg.
Malaysia agrees to set up technology park in Andhra Pradesh
  • A Malaysian company MTN has agreed to help set up a technology park in Andhra Pradesh that’s expected to attract private sector investment of $100 million in the first phase.
  • The Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board and MIGHT (Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology) Technology Nurturing Sdn. Bhd (MTN) have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on building the park, which will cover 250 acres and focus on new technologies.
  • The MoU was exchanged in New Delhi in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak. Phase 1 will be spread over 100 acres to produce biodegradable packaging for the food and electronics industries.
Indian Government sets up 'National Board for Electric Mobility' in a bid to promote electric mobility
  • More than six years after it was approved by the UPA government, the Centre has constituted 'National Board for Electric Mobility' (NBEM) to promote electric mobility and manufacturing of electric (& hybrid) vehicles and their components.
  • The Union Cabinet chaired by former Prime Minister Minister Manmohan Singh had on March 31, 2011 cleared the proposals for launch of the National Mission for Electric Mobility and setting up of a National Board for Electric Mobility (NBEM) and National Council for Electric Mobility.
  • FUNCTIONS OF NBEM:-
    • The NBEM will coordinate and resolve difference of opinion, if any, among various ministries. It will examine, recommend, monitor and review electric mobility related R&D projects and pilot projects and also evaluate and propose business models for popularising electric mobility.
    • It will formulate strategies and give directions to the various ministries and other stakeholders for implementing the decisions of the National Council for Electric Mobility.
Under new regime, foreign tourists with e-visa can stay up to 2 months
  • Foreign tourists visiting India on e-visa can now stay up to two months, instead of the earlier one month, and enjoy double-entry benefits while those coming for treatment can avail triple-entry facility.
  • Earlier, a tourist coming on e-visa could stay in India up to 30 days only.
  • Effective April 1, e-visa has been sub-divided into three categories — e-tourist visa, e-business visa and e-medical visa.
  • The window for application under e-visa scheme has been increased from 30 days to 120 days.
  • Besides, both business and medical visas will be granted within 48 hours of application upon urgent requests.
SASEC's Finance Ministers Meeting held in New Delhi
  • Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley chaired the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Finance Ministers meeting in New Delhi.
  • It was attended by the seven Finance Ministers from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka and the Asian Development Bank as a supporting SASEC in this endeavor.
  • As a part of the SASEC initiative, the member countries have come up with SASEC Vision for the economic growth of the sub-region, which was launched by Arun Jaitley during the meeting. Myanmar has joined the SASEC program as its seventh member.
Day-long national conference on Communicating India underway
  • A day-long national conference on Communicating India is being held in New Delhi today. The three main themes for the conference are 'Telling India's story to the world', 'Communicating via Journalism' and 'Dialogue with Diaspora'.
  • The conference has been organized by the Vivekananda International Foundation in collaboration with the India Media Centre, University of Westminster, London, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library and the Indian Institute of Mass Communication with the association of Prasar Bharati.
NABARD Amendment Bill 2017 introduced in Lok Sabha
  • Government introduced the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) Amendment Bill 2017 in the Lok Sabha today. The bill was moved by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
  • It has provisions to enable Central Government to increase the authorized capital of NABARD from 5,000 crore rupees to 30,000 crores and to increase it beyond 30,000 crores in consultation with RBI.
  • The proposed increase in the authorized capital would enable NABARD to respond to the commitments it has undertaken, particularly in respect of the Long Term Irrigation Fund and on-lending to cooperative banks.
  • Further, it will enable NABARD to augment its business and enhance its activities which would facilitate promotion of integrated rural development and securing prosperity of rural areas including generation of more employment.
IISc ranked India’s top university in 2017 NIRF Survey
  • The Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc), Bengaluru was adjudged as the best Indian university in the 2017 National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) released by Union Human Resource Development Ministry.
  • NIRF survey is a ranking framework for higher education institutions in the country. Parameters of ranking broadly cover Teaching, Learning and Resources, Research and Professional practices, Graduation Outcomes, Outreach and inclusivity and Perception.
Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana launched
  • The Union Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has launched Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana in Nellore District of Andhra Pradesh.
  • Under this scheme, Senior citizens, living below the poverty line, will now get for free assistive devices like hearing aids and wheelchairs. Scheme corpus is Rs 477 crore.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY / DEFENCE AFFAIRS
Scientists identify plastic eating fungus
  • Scientists from Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have identified a soil fungus Aspergillus tubingensis that uses enzymes to rapidly break down plastic materials.
  • This fungus also uses the physical strength of its mycelia (the network of root—like filaments) to break apart the polymers.
SPORTS AFFAIRS
Miami Open Complete Winners list 2017
  • The 32nd edition of Miami Open Tennis tournament 2017 (also known as the Miami Masters  2017) was recently held at Key Biscayne, Florida, United States, presented by Itau.
  • 2017 Miami Open Winners List:-
    • Men's Singles : Roger Federer (Switzerland)
    • Women's Singles : Johanna Konta (United Kingdom)
    • Men's Doubles : Łukasz Kubot (Poland) / Marcelo Melo (Brazil)
    • Women's Doubles : Gabriela Dabrowski (Canada) / Xu Yifan (China)
FIFA banned former president of the Guatemala football federation 'Brayan Jimenez' for life
  • FIFA has banned Brayan Jimenez, the former president of the Guatemala football federation for life.
  • Brayan Jimenez, a former member of the FIFA Committee for Fair Play and Social Responsibility, last year pleaded guilty in a United States federal court to racketeering and wire fraud.
  • He was extradited to the U.S. in connection with the larger FIFA corruption scandal.
New Zealand cricketer Adam King handed two-year ban for doping
  • Adam King, a cricketer from New Zealand, has been banned for two years by the Sports Tribunal of New Zealand, after being found guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs.
  • King’s two-year ban has been back-dated to start on May 1, 2016.
  • King, The bowler had played for Paraparaumu since 2011 and had represented Horowhenua-Kapiti in New Zealand's Hawke Cup competition in 2013 and 2016.
NHL will not participate in 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics
  • The National Hockey League will not take part in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. NHL, in a statement yesterday said, it would finalize its 2017-18 season schedule without a Winter Games break.
  • The decision brings an end to years of tense bargaining between the International Olympic Committee, International Ice Hockey Federation and the NHL over the league's continuing participation in the Winter Games.
  • Unhappy about having to shut down for almost three weeks in the middle of their regular season, the NHL had been seeking major concessions from the IOC for taking part in the South Korea games.
  • The NHL had participated in every Winter Olympics since the 1998 Nagano Winter Games. The decision will impact almost every major hockey playing nation with the Sweden, Finland, Russia, United States and Canadian teams almost entirely made up of NHL players.
  • The NHL's absence will be a blow to the Olympics as the hockey competition was one of the Winter Games premier events and pulled in top ratings, particularly in North America.